Forage Friday #65 Toxic Moonseed

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Moonseed Vine 63020a” and was taken specifically for Forage Friday. All of the photos found on my blog are my original work and are available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Moonseed is a toxic plant known to have caused fatalities. I have included it in Forage Friday for the purpose identification and avoiding a fatal error.

Typically the way I choose a topic for Forage Friday is that I spot something as a random encounter and grab a snapshot of it for the post. I feel that this way I can give you a more organic experience and a more realistic expectation of what might be encountered during an outing.

What caught my eye in tonight’s feature image was the way the leaves are backlit by the sun filtering through the canopy. As a matter of protocol I run the photos trough Google Lens to double check the ID because anyone can make a mistake and guess wrong on the ID of a plant. Moonseed is a particularly bad one to do that with if it happens while looking for wild grapes. The shiny dark berries are attractive and could easily be mistaken for an edible.
As stated in the disclaimer there have been fatalities. The vine was once used as an ornamental that was planted on fences and such. The thick growth habit would help hide any defects in the fence and the berries are eaten by songbirds. Amazingly enough birds seem to be immune to a large number of toxic berries that would kill a human if eaten in a large enough quantity.

Two of the quickest ways to know if you have Moonseed or Grapes is that Grapes have forked tendrils that they cling to the structure with and Moonseed has no tendrils. Instead, Moonseed wraps itself around the structure. In the age of seedless grapes at the store some people may have never seen a grape seed. So the seed of a grape is ovoid. By contrast, the seed of a Moonseed berry is discoid and has a notch that gives it the appearance of a crescent moon and thus the name Moonseed. There are other factors like the lobes and the notches but these can be effected by soil conditions and sometimes be hard to distinguish.

The toxic substance in Moonseed is Dauricine which is being studied to see if it can be used in chemotherapy.

In spite of the known danger with Moonseed history says that the Cherokee did have some uses for it but my opinion is that there’s probably less risky options.

Moonseed is also a smaller berry than grapes however I still crush the grape to double check the shape of the seed when I find a new vine.

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A Bittersweet Moment

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Bittersweet Berries 110919a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The sound of raindrops dripping from the thinning canopy fills the forest.  Among the bare branches little orange and yellow dots hang from twisted vines. I can hear the sharp piercing short chirps of the Cardnials as they track each other through the thick branches of the vines.  The vines themselves twist and curl over the forest resembling what one might envision as Medusa’s hair. The occasional flicker of red feathers can be seen through the vines and eventually the male Cardnial plucks one of the berries and flies off with it.

The toxic substances in the berries have been known to kill pets and humans but it doesn’t effect the songbirds.  They not only eat the berries but help disperse the seeds in their droppings.

The vine is bittersweet and it is considered an invasive species that damages timber. The vines grow so thick and heavy that they break the tops and strangle the understory.  A wider view of the bittersweet vine in the feature image shows what it does to the understory. 

If look at the top of the image you can see the vine curling around the limb of a yellow poplar.  The vine restricts the growing wood enough that it leaves a spiral pattern on the wood. Theses bits of wood are highly prized for walking sticks.  Even to the point that the pattern is commonly faked by carving dimensional Lumber.

Back to those colorful berries.  Even though there is a risk of poisoning pets and small children the thin parts of the vines are collected by crafters and twisted into wreaths for Christmas. 

I certainly agree with the plant’s name of bittersweet.  In spite of the damage done to the forest and the vine’s predilection for forcing out more useful species like grapes it is a source of beauty in winter. 

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simplymessage me on Facebookoruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer.

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Forage Friday #21 Water Hemlock

Hello friends!Tonight’s feature image is titled Water Hemlock 7319″. Although this particular image was taken specifically for this article all of the photos are my original work and are available as prints by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

⚠️Water Hemlock is a toxic look-alike of several wild edible plants and can kill you.

I have to admit that I only have a trivial knowledge of Socrates. I know that he wrote several plays and was a philosopher in ancient Greece. I know that he bucked the system and was ultimately executed for political Discord under the guise of religious heresy. And, a I know that his method of execution was the famous hemlock tea.

Throughout my Forage Friday posts I’ve made references to Hemlock. It’sa dangerous look-alike of Yarrow, Parsnip, Angelica, Queen Anne’s Lace and several others. So when I happened to spot Water Hemlock growing in a ditch I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to show the face of why I’m so cautious about certain plants. The active component of the poison is Cicutoxin and the Wikipedia entry says it all. It’s a neurotoxin that shuts down the respiratory system. The description of the effects are brutal and even with the aid of modern medicine the odds of survival are low. Wikipedia also states that it’s used to treat certain types of cancer but is quick to point out that there’s no citation for those entries.

I probably should have included photos of the chambered roots. The hollow tubers contain a yellow liquid that soon turns red when exposed to the air.

Zooming in on the stems (which are also hollow) shows another tell tale sign of purple splotches. Especially where the leaf connects to the stem.

Foraging for food is a rewarding experience and the skills gained not only makes us more independent but also gives us a closer connection to history. However, there are hazards to prepare for and if there’s any doubt about what you’ve found it’s best error on the side of caution and toss it out.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

If you would like to Follow me on Facebook the web address is

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If you’re enjoying my blog and don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website.

https://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Click here to visithttps://lloydslensphotographyllc.com/

Did you know that I also do portraits by appointment? If you’re interested in a portrait session either message me on Facebook or Use the Contact form. The YouTube link below takes you one of my slideshows.

https://youtu.be/FDcrY6w8oY8

Have you checked out the Zazzle Store?

I’m now using Zazzle to fulfil orders. What this means for you is a secure way to place an order, discount codes & a broader product selection! Simply message me on Facebook oruse the contact form on my websiteand tell me which image you want and I’ll reply with a direct link to where you can place the order.

Clicking on the photo takes you tohttps://www.zazzle.com/lloydslensphotos?rf=238248269630914251

Lastly, all of the photos and writings are my original work unless otherwise specified and are not to be copied or reproduced without expressed written permission from the photographer

Thank you again for your support of my page!❤